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"R2D2PC"
By Andreas Bartelt - Posted on November 12, 2003

Click image to magnify

R2D2PC is a completely fanless router running OpenBSD 3.4-stable. It serves very well as firewall, router, mp3 player, web and file server. To guarantee absolute noiseless operation the complete OS is placed on a 512mb compact flash card. I've used a boot floppy for the OpenBSD installation and downloaded the necessary packages via FTP. The mechanical hard drive is mounted as /home. It starts spinning only when personal data is accessed or when the system gets upgraded from sources. Httpd, smtpd and all other services are completely independent from the mechanical hard drive. A mfs (memory file system) RAM disk makes it possible to play many mp3 files without the need of a spinning hard drive. On average (low CPU usage) the router consumes less than 20W.

Click image to magnify

The R2D2 case is a former Star Wars toy with a space station inside. I had to get rid of some plastic stuff. A pair of pliers and a file did a good job. On the photo you see the results.

Click image to magnify

Here you see all the components needed to build the router. On the photo they are already connected to each other.

  • Mainboard: VIA EPIA-CL6000 Mini ITX with VIA EDEN 600Mhz fanless processor
  • 256MB DDR266 RAM
  • 512MB Compact Flash card
  • 20GB 5400RPMM hard drive
  • IDE compact flash adapter
  • Fanless 60W PSU (external)
  • 2 simple push buttons for "power on/off" and "reset"

Click image to magnify

Here you see all the components built inside the case. The hard drive is simply attached with tape. The blue gel pad is useful for heat spreading (at least I assume it's not counterproductive - the hard drive doesn't get very hot when spinning :). I've had no problems yet running the hard drive in this uncommon position. Instead of using screws I've attached the mainboard with 4 soft plastic spacers combined with double-sided tape. Putting all the parts inside the case was not a big deal because the size of the components matches pretty well.

Click image to magnify

Bottom view of R2D2PC. The 4 USB ports, 2 LAN ports, parallel & serial connectors and the monitor adapter are directly accessible. Inside the case it's still possible to connect a PS/2 mouse & keyboard and plug in headphones or speakers. Because R2D2 is intended for use as a router I normally only need the LAN ports and the line out for audio. R2D2 is remotely administered via SSH.

Click image to magnify

Here you see R2D2PC "at work".

Click image to magnify



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